The Delhi High Court on Saturday restrained the Delhi government and the Committee of Petitions from taking any action against Delhi Chief Secretary MM Kutty, who alleged that he was being threatened with contempt proceedings for “evasive and unsatisfactory” report in connection with de-silting of drains in the city.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Harishankar restrained the government from taking any coercive or penal action against the Chief Secretary, who had approached the high court, saying he is now being threatened with privilege proceedings, as per a confidential note dated August 3, 2017, of the Committee of Petitions.
The note is said to read that the Action Taken Report (ATR) submitted by Kutty was evasive and unsatisfactory and also records the displeasure of the Delhi government since he has taken no step whatsoever, apparently to fix responsibility against persons including, inter-alia, the Secretary (PWD), as was directed vide the report dated June 29, before the Committee of Petitions.
Kutty said it was ex-facie apparent that since the ATR submitted by him apparently does not suit the requirements of the respondents (Delhi government and others), he is now being threatened with contempt proceedings before the Legislative Assembly.
The court noted that the Committee of Petitions was constituted by the Lieutenant Governor on the orders of the high court itself in a petition concerning de-silting of drains across Delhi. The bench was of the view that the Committee of Petitions was looking into the matter while the same is pending before the high court, thus, it involves the issue of overlap of jurisdiction.
This week, it had also granted similar relief to PWD principal secretary Ashwani Kumar, whose personal appearance had been sought by the Committee of Privileges in the same case over alleged misrepresentation of facts pertaining to de-silting of drains.
“…issue notice to show cause as to why rule nisi be not issued and notice in the application,” the bench ordered.
“…it is directed that there shall be a stay on the report of the Committee of Petitions dated 29th June, 2017, as tabled in the Legislative Assembly, impugned resolution dated 3rd July, 2017, passed by the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi as well as the observations reflected in the note dated 3rd August, 2017, and the respondents shall stand prohibited from taking any coercive and penal steps pursuant thereto till the next date of hearing,” the court ordered.